SOUTHSIDE — The much needed, much anticipated upgrades to the existing U.S. 35 though Southern Mason County into Putnam County begin on March 13 and are expected to be completed Nov. 1.
Motorists traveling through the area will likely experience delays as the various phases of construction get underway though to minimize delays the West Virginia Division of Highways announced the majority of the work will be done in the evenings from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.
Brent Walker, spokesperson with DOH, said traffic will likely be slow moving through the area as work progresses but he doesn’t anticipate lane closures at this time, at least for the upcoming work which will mostly be taking place off to the side of the existing road. He did caution there is always the possibility traffic could be stopped or a lane closed for a brief period of time when moving large equipment to complete the work. Walker said obviously there will be reduced speeds in the work zones but again these work zones will be happening at night from 6 p.m. - 6 a.m.
Walker said motorists will see the upgrades happen in phases. The first phase, which begins in the evening on March 13, begins at Beech Hill in Mason County and will extend 11 miles to Plantation Road in Putnam County. This first phase will include the installation of culverts which will be of appropriate size to handle the eventual widening of the existing two-lane road. This culvert work is expected to take around two months to complete.
The subsequent phases include stabilization work, including installation of piling along certain sections of this 11-mile stretch which are prone to slides; fill work in order to widen the road; and finally paving of the new surface.
Walker said West Virginia Paving of Dunbar is the primary contractor for this job which is estimated to cost $10.8 million. All work is to be done within the DOH’s existing right-of-way.
The remaining few miles of upgrades, which will include the section of road from Plantation Road to the Buffalo Bridge will cost $7 million and a bid by Alan Stone Company of Cutler, Ohio has already been accepted for this project, though no start date has been set.
When completed, the upgrades will include four-foot shoulders on both sides of the two-lane section of U.S. 35 which currently begins around Cornstalk Road in Southern Mason County and extends to the Buffalo Bridge in Putnam County.
The Point Pleasant Register will update readers on the progress of the construction and any traffic announcements relating to this project as they become available.